Building Uses as Outlined by the Building Code of Australia

There are ten types of “Use” a building can have. These are outlined in the Building Code of Australia. Legally, your building should (in theory) have one of these Uses. Different parts of one building (like the first and second floor) might have different Uses:

Class One: A Single Dwelling or Boarding House

What It Means: Basically, this means ‘a house’.

Class Two: A Building Containing Two or More Sole-Occupancy Units

What It Means: Basically a block of flats.

Class Three: A Residential Building Other than a Class 1 or 2

What It Means:  Hotels, dormitories, backpackers and the like.

Class Four: A Dwelling in a Building That is Class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 if it is the only Dwelling in the Building:

What It Means: Basically a caretaker’s flat in an office block or something like that.

Class Five: An Office Building

What It Means: A building, or section of a building being used for offices. Note that this is different from a studio – offices assume you’re not using anything that emits fumes or requires heavy machinery.

Class Six: A Shop or Other Building for the Sale of Goods by Retail or the Supply of Services Direct to the Public

What It Means: This includes places where you’re selling stuff, showrooms (which can theoretically include galleries), a bar that does nothing other than serve booze (no live music and no dance floor), and also hair dressers and funeral homes.

Class 7: A Building Which is (a) a Car Park or (b) for Storage or Display of Goods for Sale by Wholesale.

What It Means: A place for storing things, but which tends not to have a lot of people milling around in it.

Class 8: A laboratory, or a building in which a handicraft or process for the production, assembling, altering, repairing, packing, finishing or cleaning of goods is carried on for trade, sale or gain.

What It Means: Basically a workshop, studio or factory. Or laboratory. Most artist studios can fit in here.

Class 9: A Building of a Public Nature such as (a) a health care building (b) an assembly building, (c) an aged care building.

What It Means: This is the most complex one, because all of these spaces involve lots of people milling around, and supposedly a higher risk of danger. The one most Renew projects are likely to encounter is the dreaded Class 9B – which is the category for theatres, music venues, performance venues and, depending on your council, is often applied to galleries. In some states there’s further laws monitoring it, usually called something like Place of Public Entertainment. It’s also often linked to liquor licensing law, in that you often need to have a Class 9B Certificate of Use to get a liquor license.

Class 10: A Non-Habitable Building

What It Means: Things like garages, sheds etc.